12 Life-Changing Tips For Navigating Your 20s

If you are currently navigating your 20s, you’ve either already started to experience or will start to experience a time in which you will explore, change, and grow as a person.

Not only can your 20s be lots of fun, but these years will also be filled with so many moments to learn more about yourself.

As a person in my late 20s, there are a few things I did over this last decade that have been so beneficial and ultimately life-changing. The following list are things I am so happy I did in my 20s because now I feel like I can roll into my 30s well-prepared.

These tips will help you tremendously in your 20s.

 

This post is all about 12 tips for navigating your 20s.

navigating your 20s day

1. Start paying off your debt

If you have debt, your 20s are a great time to start making a plan to pay it off. Debt can feel super overwhelming and even complicated, but it is much better to face it head on now than to ignore it.

You could live the vast majority of your life (or even the entire thing) having to make debt payments if you don’t take your debt seriously. Wouldn’t you rather use your hard-earned money for something else?

You will feel so much lighter in life without debt payments hanging over your head. Start making a plan to pay it off now.

Here’s how I paid off $60k of student loan debt by age 26.

 

2. Save for your retirement

The next thing you want to focus on in your 20s is saving for your retirement. If you start investing when you’re young, your money has so much more time to grow. The more time it has to grow, the more money you will have later in life.

You can start investing with your company’s 401(k). If your company doesn’t have a 401(k), try investing in an IRA (individual retirement arrangement) or with a regular brokerage account. Both of these are pretty simple to set up!

Once you have a retirement account set up, you can contribute a portion of your paycheck to the account. Set it and forget it!

It doesn’t matter how you get started investing, the important thing is that you start as soon as possible.

 

3. Save an emergency fund

Do you have an emergency fund? An emergency fund is just what it sounds like – cash set aside in case you run into an emergency and need money.

Emergency funds can help keep you out of debt and they also provide great peace of mind. When you have an emergency fund, you know you have cash set aside just in case you get in a bind.

Oftentimes, financial gurus recommend you have a 3 or 6 month emergency fund. This means that your emergency fund should be large enough to cover 3-6 months of your bare bones expenses like your rent or mortgage payment, electric bill, internet, groceries and gas — basically, the things you’d have to pay for to survive if for some reason you lost your source of income.

To calculate this, simply add up all of your expenses that you’d classify as a “need” for one month. Once you have that number, multiply it by 3 for a 3 month emergency fund or by 6 for a 6 month emergency fund.

Aim to save that number, and keep this cash set aside in a high-yield savings account so you can easily access it if needed.

 

4. Find a job you actually like

Life is far too short to work in a job that you don’t like. If you are miserable, start looking elsewhere. There are so many great companies out there that will treat you well, offer great benefits, and help you grow as an individual.

 

5. Travel

Go see things while you are young and in good health. As you get older, life can get more complicated and your responsibilities can multiply. If you travel while you’re young, you can have incredible experiences while there’s still lots of freedom to do so.

Travelling helps you get a better understanding of the world around you and gets you out of your comfort zone. If you want to grow as a person, travel is such a fun, exciting way to do so.

 

6. Make your appointments

Another thing that is so important in your 20s is staying on top of your health and making your necessary healthcare appointments.

Being in good health is a blessing, and it’s important that we stay on top of it. One of the ways we can do that is by making appointments for ourselves on a regular cadence (doctor, dentist, etc.).

You might think it’s not a big deal to put off your dentist appointment for a year or two, but you could go after a few years and learn that you have more cavities that you can count. That means more money you’ll have to spend getting back to optimal health AND more of your time that you’ll have to spend at the dentist’s office.

Putting off your appointments can cost you your health, money, and time. Make your appointments and stick to them – you’ll be happy you did!

 

7. Try therapy

Therapy can be a great tool for your 20s. As a 20-something, you have so much going on. You’re experiencing so many new things and adulting for the first time – it can be tough!

But therapy can help. It can be so beneficial to talk to an unbiased, third-party about your life. A therapist can give you the tools you need to make your life a little easier to manage.

There’s also no shame in going to therapy. If you want to try therapy for yourself but you’re not sure what to expect or you’re feeling a little hesitant, read this post on the benefits of therapy and how to find a therapist.

 

8. Journal

Journaling has so many benefits. For instance, journaling can help you think more critically about what’s going on in your life.

Similarly, journaling is a great way to document your life. Oftentimes we forget the small details over time, and journaling is a great way to capture those small moments forever.

Journaling can also be very therapeutic. It can be tough to hold all of your thoughts inside your mind, but getting them out on paper is a great way to let them go or look at them more positively.

If you’ve always wanted to try journaling but you’re not sure how to start or what exactly to write about, check out this post all about things you can write about.

 

9. Avoid gossip

Gossip can be fun and as humans, our curiosity often makes gossip super appealing. After all, talking about shared experiences is one way we connect and relate to one another.

But if you’re not careful about who you open up to and what you say, you could ruin your relationships with others.

Have you ever had someone gossip to you about someone else and you think, “wow, if they say that about them, I wonder what they’re saying about me…”? Trust goes out the window on your end, and that’s always a bummer.

If you’re not careful, you could be making others feel this way about you when you gossip.

There’s a time and a place for gossip, and it’s usually only with those you trust deeply. Make sure if you do gossip that you are mindful about who you’re talking about, when you’re talking about them, and what you say.

 

10. Negotiate your salary

If you don’t negotiate your salary every time you get a new job, you are likely losing out on a ton of money over the course of your life.

There are some cases and job fields in which negotiating may not be possible, but if you think it is, you’ve got to try.

It can feel scary or even awkward to negotiate, but it helps to remember that most employers expect you to negotiate.

If you aren’t sure what to say or how to do it, read this post on how to negotiate.

 

11. Read

There are so many great books that can help you navigate your 20s.

If you want to build habits and be consistent, check out Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book provides incredible advice that’ll stick with you long after you finish reading it. This book can change your life if you let it.


navigating your 20s

Likewise, The Defining Decade by Meg Jay is one of those books you keep on your book shelf and read over and over again. The advice in the book is meant to really make you think hard about the choices you make as a 20-something and how those same choices can affect the rest of your life in a positive or negative way.

navigating your 20s

12. Celebrate your accomplishments

Life moves fast as a 20-something, so it’s important to slow down and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

There will always be another goal you make for yourself or another milestone you’re excited to hit, but don’t forget to relish in whatever you are experiencing and accomplishing now because this decade will be over before you know it!

 

This post was all about 12 tips for navigating your 20s.

 

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About Taylor

About Taylor

A few years after graduating college, Taylor made it her mission to become debt free. After paying off all $60k of debt, she began to blog about what she's really passionate about: personal development. Nowadays, Taylor blogs about the topics of Mindset, Money, Health, and Career for women.

"It's Per$onal" is a super popular and anonymous blog series about the personal lives and finances of women all over the world. Check it out!

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